Koroit’s Alish Smith is determined to one day follow in the footsteps of UFC superstars such as Ronda Rousey.
The 22-year-old is preparing to compete at her second International Mixed Martial Arts Federation World Championships in Bahrain next week.
Smith, who has just two years’ experience in the sport, said she would love nothing more than to return home a world champion.
"I am hoping to win gold," she said.
"Originally I was following Ronda (Rousey), she did a lot for the sport and if it wasn't for her then women wouldn't be in it.
"But pretty much any of the women, it is not a massive division so just any of them are great role models to look up to.
"And hopefully I can be like them, I want to get there one day."
Smith, a former dancer who fell in love with MMA after watching it on television, said she felt better prepared to head back to Bahrain for a second time.
The championships are a week-long tournament with a knockout system.
Last year the Koroit local lost on split decision in the first round which saw her eliminated on debut, but she said was confident that would not happen again.
"It is people from all over the world competing in it which is crazy,” she said.
"I went there last year and I am a bit more confident with what to expect.
"Just overall training needed to be a bit better and just better mindset and again I know what to expect this year and I know how the competition will be so I am a bit more ready this time."
Smith is not the only person backing her to be crowned the world champion.
Coach David Gibb, who has 20 years’ experience as a professional fighter in MMA, Muay Thai and taekwondo said he had full confidence in his young fighter.
"I think she is a chance to taking out the comp," he said.
"She has four fights and she has all the skills, we have been there once before and we have a taste for the place now.
"There is no reason why she can't go all of the way, that's why I am pretty excited about it."
Gibb has coached Smith at Warrnambool’s Spartan Mixed Martial Arts over the past two years, from a beginner to a two-time Australian representative.
He said Smith had proven that she had what it took to experience the ultimate success on the world stage.
"Probably her dedication and willingness to work impresses me the most,” he said.
"We are at a bit of a disadvantage being in the country because we don't have the high-quality training partners and sparring partners.
"She has been super dedicated and heading up to Melbourne every week, now that is a big commitment for anyone.”